As you get into a winter state of mind, you'll be happy to discover – or be reminded – that North Carolina is a great destination for fun and adventures on the snow. Our state is home to six full-service ski areas with nearly 100 slopes for all abilities, from beginner to Double Black Diamond, as well as freestyle terrain parks, ice skating, tubing and more.
The winter sports season opens around mid-November and lasts until late March. With the coldest climates and highest elevations in the South, ski areas can often support snowmaking even when it’s sweater weather at lower elevations.
If you’re a frequent skier, take advantage of the North Carolina Ski Areas Association Gold Card, a season pass ($895; only a limited number are sold) to all participating ski areas regardless of weekend or holiday rates.
Here’s a rundown on what awaits this season at North Carolina’s ski areas and winter sports resorts.
1 Appalachian Ski Mountain
1 Appalachian Ski MountainBlowing RockSee on map
At a glance: 27 acres of skiable terrain with 12 slopes and trails (three beginner, six intermediate, three advanced). Peak elevation: 4,000 feet. Vertical drop: 365 feet.
Longest run: 2,640 feet. Lifts include a double and two quads. Resort also features a Zamboni-maintained ice rink.
2 Beech Mountain Resort
2 Beech Mountain ResortBeech MountainSee on map
At a glance: 95 acres of skiable terrain with 17 slopes and trails (three beginner, seven intermediate, four advanced, two freestyle terrain area) and a 700-foot long tubing park. Peak elevation: 5,506 feet – higher than any slope in the East. Vertical drop: 830 feet.
Longest run: 1 mile. Eight total lifts include three doubles and three quads. With a village ice rink and the Beech Mountain Resort Ski & Ride School's adaptive lessons for kids and adults with disabilities.
Mark your calendar:
- Family Night – New Year's Eve Celebration: Dec. 31, 2019
- Winterfest Beer Festival: Jan. 11, 2020
3 Cataloochee Ski Area
3 Cataloochee Ski AreaMaggie ValleySee on map
At a glance: 50 acres of skiable terrain with 18 slopes and trails (eight beginner, seven intermediate and three advanced to expert). Peak elevation: 5,400 feet. Vertical drop: 740 feet.
Longest run: 3,500 feet (Upper and Lower Snowbird). Lifts include a double, a triple and a quad. Area offers interscholastic and NASTAR recreational race programs. Nearby Tube World features a six-run tubing park and a Wee Bowl Snowplay Area. The Cataloochee Snow School includes an adaptive ski program for adults and children with disabilities.
Mark your calendar:
- 6th Annual Ski and Snowboard Swap Shop: Dec. 7-8, 2019
- Can-U-Ski Food and Coat Drive: Dec. 8, 2019 (Bring 24 cans of food or two winter coats and get a free lift ticket for that day.)
- Fire and Rescue Appreciation Days: Jan. 30-31, 2020
- Law Enforcement Appreciation Days: Feb. 6-7, 2020
- Military Appreciation Days: Feb. 27-28, 2020
4 Sapphire Valley Ski Area
4 Sapphire Valley Ski AreaSapphireSee on map
At a glance: 8 acres of skiable terrain with two trails (one beginner, one intermediate) and a 500-foot tube park. Peak elevation: 3,400 feet. Vertical drop: 200 feet.
Longest run: 1,600 feet. There’s a quad lift for the main run.
5 Sugar Mountain Resort
5 Sugar Mountain ResortSugar MountainSee on map
At a glance: 125 acres of skiable area with 21 slopes and trails (seven beginner, 10 intermediate, four advanced), a tubing park and ice skating rink. Sugar Mountain also revamped its experience recently with new groomers and snow-making machines, new rental equipment and a larger sports shop. Peak elevation: 5,300 feet. Vertical drop: 1,200 feet.
Longest run: 1.5 miles. Lifts include three doubles, a triple and – in celebration of Sugar Mountain’s first 50 years – a new high-speed, detachable chairlift for beginners that opened December 2019. Sugar Mountain also offers a 700-foot multilane tube run, ice skating, a guided snowshoe tour and public racing program.
Mark your calendar:
- SugarFest: Dec. 13-15, 2019
- New Year's Celebration: Dec. 31, 2019
- 25th Annual National Winter Trails Day: Jan. 5, 2020
6 Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
6 Wolf Ridge Ski ResortMars HillSee on map
At a glance: 54 acres of skiable terrain with 15 slopes and trails (four beginner, nine intermediate, two advanced), a terrain park and a tube run. Peak elevation: 4,700 feet. Vertical drop: 700 feet.
Longest run: 3,700 feet. Lifts include one quad, one double and two surface lifts.
MORE WINTER PLAY
7 Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Zip Line Course
7 Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Zip Line CourseSeven DevilsSee on map
Hawksnest Resort is a family-friendly winter area that’s home to the largest snow tubing park on the East Coast, as well as one of the longest zip line tours in the nation. The tubing park is comprised of four areas and 30 lighted lanes ranging from 400 to 1,000 feet in length. The zip line course features 20 cables covering more than 4 miles and is open year-round.
8 Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park
8 Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing ParkJonas RidgeSee on map
Take your tube to the top of the hill and hold on for an exhilarating ride down one of the six lanes at Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park. After tubing, warm up inside by the fireplace or watch from an observation deck. The park also offers night tubing.
9 Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park
10 Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center
10 Scaly Mountain Outdoor CenterScaly MountainSee on map
Scaly Mountain offers year-round tubing with snow in the winter and artificial turf in the summer. The resort offers a separate slope for young tubers and also has a skating rink. Sandwiches and snacks are available at Annie’s Café.
11 Beech Mountain Sledding Hill
11 Beech Mountain Sledding HillBeech MountainSee on map
The town of Beech Mountain maintains a free sledding hill for children 12 and younger (parents can ride with smaller children), next to Town Hall. A combination of natural and man-made snow keeps the conditions right. Plastic sleds are required.